Canada 'will not back down' over United States metals tariffs

30 June, 2018, 08:41 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Chrystia Freeland

"We will not escalate, and we will not back down", Freeland said.

Trump says his tariffs are created to protect domestic industries that have been hammered by an unfair global trading system.

The list of items being hit with a 10 per cent Canadian duty include: yogurt, toffee, pizza, fresh orange juice, ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, soup, dishwasher detergent, candles, glue, herbicide, plastic bags, tableware and kitchenware, plywood, facial tissues, toilet paper, greeting cards, and lawn mowers.

Canadians are particularly anxious about auto tariffs because the industry is critical to Canada's economy.

Ujczo doubts Trump will announce auto tariffs because that would be a "red line for the U.S. Congress" before the midterm election.

Among the actions the chamber recommends are continuing to pursue the case through the World Trade Organization (WTO), trying to open new markets to Canadian goods beside the USA and making concessions to the Americans on areas such as supply management in dairy.

According to the federal government, there are 23,000 Canadians employed in the steel industry, and 10,500 Canadian aluminum workers. Freeland said such tariffs would be "absurd" because the North American auto industry is highly integrated and parts made in Canada often go to cars manufactured in the U.S. and then sold back to Canadians. And at the end of the day, Ujczo added the Trump administration's overarching objective of the talks has been to stop Canada and Mexico from being the back door to North America for Chinese goods, like steel.

"The president has made it very clear that he thinks that people who are members of a group like North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should pay their fair share", she said on Fox Business.

The U.S. embassy in Ottawa said it had no immediate comment.

"We are perfectly within our rights to respond - I'd also like to point out that Canada has quite intentionally been measured and restrained in its response", said Freeland, who was joined at the announcement by Trudeau cabinet colleagues Patty Hajdu and Navdeep Bains.

"The real solution to this unfortunate and unprecedented dispute", she said, "is for the United States to rescind its tariffs on our steel and aluminum".

"Faced with these unjustified tariffs, the United States will take all necessary actions under both US law and worldwide rules to protect its interests", he said in the statement.


The support measures are meant to help Canadian firms manage the tariffs as well as innovate for the future, he said. "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said.

"I don't think we'll see any reaction from the Trump administration".

The federal support package includes similar measures to those offered by Ottawa a year ago in response US duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.

On this front, Ottawa feels it has more work to do.

Media captionDairy wars: Why is Trump threatening Canada over milk? "We are also concerned about further escalation and potentially wider and deeper impacts on Canadian businesses".

The ministers reiterated Friday that Canada has taken steps and introduced safeguards to address concerns about diversion and dumping of products into the Canadian market.

For the latest dispute, the government intends to help affected workers by extending the duration of work-sharing agreements under the employment insurance program by an additional 38 weeks.

Ottawa also released details Friday of a financial aid package for industries and workers caught in the crossfire - and it includes up to $2 billion in fresh funding and loans for Canada's steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.

Ottawa is also promising to boost funding for the provinces and territories to increase job and training programs.

Bains said the support is aimed at helping firms adjust to the hard circumstances while enabling them to continue to innovate along the way.

The Government of Canada will invest $50 million over five years to help Canadian companies diversify their exports to take advantage of new trade agreements, such as CETA and CPTPP.

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